Guidelines for Undergraduate Research Applications

Undergraduate Research Grant applications provide faculty of University of Mary Washington with an opportunity to guide degree-seeking, undergraduate students in the skills of conducting a specialized research project or experience and should be treated in that pre-professional learning context.  Students are expected to participate significantly in writing the application and the project report.

While grant projects are usually completed within one semester, it is possible to make a request in the Fall semester application period for a project that will be completed by the end of the Spring semester.  An interim progress report is required for all approved two-semester projects and is due by the deadline for final reports for fall semester projects (see below under “Required Report”).  Failure to submit the required interim report will result in withholding the remaining approved grant funding until the interim report is received.

Required Application Materials:

Applications must address all points stated on the Undergraduate Research Cover Sheet. Grant applications lacking the necessary signatures on the cover sheet will not be considered.

The application MUST include a description of the proposed activity.  This description must outline the goals of the project, present a brief case for the project’s significance, and explain the activity’s relevance to the applicant’s scholarly and professional development.  This description should be written clearly and in non-technical, jargon-free language appropriate for a general audience. The application must also indicate the frequency and nature of the interaction during the project between the student and the sponsoring faculty member.

As part of the application, the proposal must include a budget on which all requested funds are listed with costs provided.  NOTE: If you are planning to request funds to travel out of the country, you will be required to enroll in the International Health Insurance with Center for International Education (CIE), for the time you are abroad. All students who travel internationally for their research will work with UMW’s CIE and follow the steps for Research Abroad. Please contact CIE at cie@umw.edu or 540.654.1434 for assistance.

Finally, the faculty sponsor must provide a short “rationale statement” explaining why the student and the proposed project merit consideration for funding.

Required Report:

A brief end-of-semester project report is due in the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office by the first day of classes in the semester following the grant period.  The report should describe the project’s achieved objectives, summarize the budget expenditures made, and provide brief overall commentary about the outcome of the undergraduate research project.

General guidelines for decisions on grant proposals:

1.  Applicants for Undergraduate Research Grants must be enrolled as degree-seeking, undergraduate students at UMW during the period in which the grant project is to be initiated and conducted.  Non-degree students are ineligible for undergraduate research grants.

2.  Undergraduate Research Grants may not be requested for stipends for student researchers or their faculty sponsors.

3.  Undergraduate Research Grants may not be requested to cover the costs for a student to take credit-earning courses at UMW or at another college or university.

4.  The student(s) must be centrally involved in framing the problem, developing a research strategy, and conducting the project.  Undergraduate Research Grants do not support a student’s passive involvement in a faculty member’s project.

5.  If a proposal requests funds for travel, the student(s) must either be presenting at a conference, actively engaging in a guided, experiential project, or conducting field and/or specialized library research that is integral to completion of a final, tangible research project the student is preparing (such as an honor’s thesis, directed research project, or similar individual study project). Undergraduate Research funds are not provided for students to attend meetings as attendees/listeners/observers or for students who wish to attend such meetings for “networking” purposes.

6.  All purchases of non-consumable items made with UMW grant funds (such as equipment, software, books, DVDs, and the like) are the property of the UMW because they have been purchased with Commonwealth of Virginia funds.

7.  All purchases of goods and services must follow Commonwealth and University regulations, such as using mandatory sources and observing bidding requirements.  Direct questions before purchasing any items to Faculty sponsor and / or Department Office Manager. See Purchasing web pages  for more information.


Role of the Student:

  • Participate significantly in writing the application and the project report
  • Complete Grant Proposal Cover Sheet
  • Attach detailed description of proposal activity
  • Explain activities relevance to scholarly development
  • Indicate the frequency and nature of the interaction during the project between the student and the sponsoring faculty member
  • Provide information if UMW Blogs will be used during project
  • A project report is due in the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office by the first day of classes in the semester following the grant period
  • Interim progress report is required for all approved two-semester projects and is due by the deadline for final reports for fall semester projects

Role of the Faculty Sponsor:

  • Work with the student on the supported research project
  • Serve as the student’s main point of contact regarding the procedures required for spending the awarded grant funds. For research supplies – help the student understand required purchasing procedures or may instruct the student on who to see in the department (e.g. the department office manager) for assistance. For travel – assist the student in completing the required travel forms – Request for Travel form and Travel Reimbursement Voucher (the same forms used for faculty travel) or may direct the student to someone in the department (e.g. the department office manager) for assistance.
  • Provide a short “rationale statement” explaining why the student and the proposed project merit consideration for funding.